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Lot # 1146 (of 1336)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

John Morrissey Cut Signature - Former Boxing Champion and U.S. Congressman

Starting Bid - $200, Sold For - $240

Cut signature of John Morrissey (1831-1878), former bare-knuckle boxing champion. Morrissey's signature is flawlessly scripted in black ink (grading "10") on a small white card (3.5 x 2.25 inches). The card, which is in Excellent condition, was originally found in a nineteenth-century autograph album and, as a result of its removal, displays areas of paper residue on the reverse. Also on the reverse are a few pencil notations related to Morrissey's career. This is an extremely rare boxing signature and one of only a few examples we have ever seen at auction. Morrissey only fought in few recorded bouts during the 1850s because at the time boxing was illegal in most places. He won the heavyweight championship on October 12, 1853 by defeating Yankee Sullivan on a rules technicality. He successfully defended his title in 1858 by defeating John C. Heenan before retiring in 1859. When not boxing, Morrissey was employed as a paid enforcer for New York's corrupt Tammany Hall. With his gang, the Dead Rabbitts, Morrissey employed his own brand of democracy against his political opponents. A successful gambler, he held ownership interest in a number of casinos and helped found the Saratoga Race Course and Club House. He later entered the political arena directly, serving two terms in Congress (1867-1871), where he was partial to the interests of his Irish constituents. Never a shy man, Morrissey brought his strong-arm tactics to Washington, declaring at the time that he could "lick any man in the House." After his Congressional term was over he served in the New York State Senate. He died in 1878 at the age of 47 as a result of pneumonia. He was elected to the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1996. LOA from James Spence/JSA.  Reserve $200. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $240


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